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China’s and India’s Environmental Policy

Nowadays we live in the ear of globalization and modernization and it goes without saying that these processes have had a great impact on such countries as China and India. These countries have had changes in social, political and cultural spheres. The main aim of every country is to get profit and India and Chinese policies have new directions taking into account this principle. The main changes in these countries are connected with industrialisation, globalization, urbanization and getting to the world market. Nowadays both countries aim all their effort to have the traditional market economy and to be successful on the world market. One of the steps in this direction was the attempt to divide policy and economy and t was rather successful. As war as we now modernization can bring profit but at the same time there negative aspects of this phenomenon. One of the most important among them are the environmental one, the decrease of quality of life, destruction of agricultural sector and some others.
India is a developing country and it faces a number of environmental problems. Environment problems make the weak point of its governmental policy. It is obvious that the government is able to incorporate only a little number of market-based economic instruments in environmental planning. Environmental degradation becomes serious problem in India and so this problem is becoming of current importance in this country, as well as all over the world. The rapidly growing population has a great impact on the country’s environment. This factor together with industrialization affects Indian infrastructure and natural resources. Urbanization puts obstacles in the way of the rural development of the country and leads to serious air pollution. Among the environmental problems in India are the following: sanitation, air and water pollution, threat to biological diversity, waste disposal, deforestation, soil erosion, degradation of resources and some others. “Increasing deforestation, rapid industrialization and urbanization, increased transportation and input-intensive agriculture are some of the major causes of environmental problems being faced by the country.” (Shukla, p. 241) Poverty is another negative factor for such heavily populated country where the resources are limited. Taking into account domestic environmental problems, India must be aware of global ones, such as global warming and the appearance of ozone holes as a result of this process. India must become an active participant in the problem of stopping the greenhouse effect and controlling some of its gases, such as carbon dioxide and others. India is just moving in this direction: it is a signatory to the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change).
The economic reforms in China had a complex and contradictory effect.
Agricultural stagnation, low industry rates and low living standards made Chinese political leaders look for the means to improve the situation. The ideology ceased to be that mechanism, which helped to direct the economy of the country and economic reforms became the way for improvement. In general post-Mao economic reforms were characterized by decolonization of agriculture and opening country market to foreign investors and the world trade. Reforms were firstly tried in rural areas as these areas brought more than half of the budget income. After successful results reforms were spread to urban areas. These reforms became a shift to the market economy. So called “contract system” cancelled obligatory work for state and let citizens use the results of their work. So called open policy, which made some areas of China “places with preferential conditions for foreign investment and bases for the development of exports" created new opportunities for economic development of the country (Buxton, P. 99). Agriculture played a very important role in eradication of poverty. “By international standards, China’s social indicators as reflected in close to universal access to primary education, low infant mortality and high life expectancy have been outliers, in view of China’s low initial per capita income” (Hsieh, 195). The first actions that were taken about agriculture were the privatization of farming, intensification of industry and liberalization of markets for many goods.
The process of transition to urbanization took the US, for example, 47 years while China managed to double its income twice just in 10 years (1978-1996). “The rise of China as an economic power is one of the great stories of the latter half of the 20th century. Twenty-five years of reform have produced staggering results: hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, China’s economy continues to grow at a rate of 8-12% annually, and the country currently ranks as the fourth largest economy and third largest exporting nation in the world, after the United States and Germany” (Buxton, P. 169).
China’s economy is a mixture of socialist planned economy and socialist market economy. Such progress in agricultural industry could be achieved just due to the combination of renewable and nonrenewable resources. The renewable resources in China are represented by the next ones: involving in foreign economic relations, suppressing of consumption, choosing quantity instead of quality.
The usage of nonrenewable resources can be easily explained by the long-lived China’s history and traditions and, as a result specific ways of agricultural industry’s development take place in China. The agriculture is mostly based on numerous hard-working population that guarantees constant progress. Quantity of the work is achieved by drawing on ancestors’ experience. State still controls the economy practically at all levels and at the macroeconomic in particular. China continues to use the same natural resources that have been used for centuries. All these resources are nonrenewable ones and in my opinion they dominate in China’s agriculture, new achievements just simplify the activity but in general the technology of agricultural industry hasn’t changed greatly. We can say that there is extensive commercial agriculture in China because extensive approach is still suitable in agriculture.
Such a rapid economical growth has brought a lot of damage to the environment. Environmental degradation and pollution, which lasted through the centuries and quick temps of industrialization have finally resulted in highest rates of water and air pollution in the world. This consequently leads to other complications including resource challenges. Environmental practices of China became an object of concern of not only the citizens of the country but also of the world community. Nowadays it became evident that China has made a big contribution to the major environmental challenges of the modern world, such as climate change, marine pollution and illegal timber trade.
There are several key problems China faces concerning the environment. These challenges are: air pollution, land degradation and water pollution. More than half of city area of China has polluted air. Pan Yue, Vice-Minister of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) states that four of the five most polluted cities of the world are situated in China. Acid rains also cause serious threat to environment. These rains fall on more than quarter of Chinese territory. These rains have negative impact on both – human health and environment, including agricultural crops. There are several reasons of air pollution in China but the main one is relying on coal as the main source of energy. In addition, quick urbanization led to the increase of the number of cars, which also contribute to the air pollution. Land degradation is also a serious problem for contemporary China. Deforestation and overcultivation have caused major changes in the landscape of the country. These changes now result in biodiversity loss, soil erosion and climate changes. “Overall, almost 40% of China’s land is affected by soil erosion. The world’s highest water erosion rates occur in China in the Loess Plateau, where 1.6 billion tons of topsoil is washed into the Yellow River on an annual basis“ (Shangguan,p.43). One quarter of the country is now turned to desert and this process continues. Water pollution is the most serious problem for modern China. About 7 % of world water resources are situated in China, while about 20 % of world population live there. These means that people in China feel need in water and this tendency is likely to grow in the future. The lack of water resources is complicated by the problem of water pollution. A survey made in 44 Chinese cities has shown that 42 of them are affected by the water pollution (Shangguan, p. 43). About three-quarters of water, which runs in urban areas, is polluted and not suitable for drinking. Even the water used for drinking is often of very low quality. Agricultural runoff and wastewater from rural industries have caused severe damage in several biggest Chinese lakes.
Being aware of environmental problems India is preparing its own strategy that would help to cope with the needs of the global climate changes. Current environmental regulations, for example the Environmental Act of 1986 give the Central Pollution Control Board a possibility to control air and water pollution and solid waste. Despite this fact the environmental situation in India is rather difficult. “Policies that help in reducing environment degradation while at the same time increasing growth in the critical sectors of the economy are strongly needed” (Planning Commission, 67).
Indian environmental policy has a long history. In the year 1927 the Indian Forest Act was published. This Act was based on the previous Acts, for example the Indian Forest Act of 1878. These both acts were aimed to regulate the transition of forest produce, reserve the forest areas and to set up and protect reserved forests, protected forests and village forests. Reserved Forest presents an area of land which is defined under section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 or under the so-called reservation provisions, which are presented in the Forest acts of the Indian Union. “It is within power of a State Government to issue a preliminary notification under section 4 of the Act declaring that it has been decided to constitute such land, as specified in a Schedule with details of its location, area and boundary description, into a Reserved Forest” (Shukla, p.242). Protected Forest is an area of land and the Government has property rights over it and it is notified under the provision of the section 29 of the Indian Forest Act. Village Forest is an area of land notified under section 28 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
The Government of India is caring about the wildlife of the country and it can be easily confirmed by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. This act is only one act of environmental policy of the Government of India in this year. This act presents a list of protected animal and plant species and establishes schedules of hunting. This act is applied to the whole territory of India, with the exception of the State of Kashmir and Jammu. The main aim of this act is to protect wild animals, birds and plants.
All in all India’s active participation in environmental problem solving is connected with the 1984 Bhopal disaster. More than 3,000 people died because of the toxic poisoning from the Carbide chemical plant. In 1986 the Environment Protection Act was passed. Its main aim was to create MoEF (the Ministry of Environment and Forests) and activate India’s potential. According to this act MoEF is responsible for all environmental laws and policies. Beginning from this time environmental strategies are taken into account while making a project of any plant or factory. Industrial pollution in recent 20 years is one of the greatest environmental problem, as it endangers citizens’ life and so one of MoEF’s main tasks is to reduce the industrial pollution.
Such cities in India as New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Koltaka are among the most polluted cities in the world and their air quality ranks are extremely high. The highest number of deaths because of bad ecology occurs in India. Industrial pollution in India is caused in most cases by untreated industrial smoke and vehicular emissions. India’s government is trying to improve the situation: “In New Delhi, emissions limits for gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles came into effect in 1991 and 1992, respectively, and the city has prohibited the use of vehicle more than 15 years old.” (Rana, p.100)
Rapid urbanization and overcrowded cities in India result in 208 per cent increase of energy consuming by the year 2001 in comparison with 1980 and these figures are frightening. Energy usage rate in India is increasing even faster than in China. Nevertheless, India’s energy consumption, which makes 12.8 quads, now is below that in China, where it is 39.67 quads.
It took some time for the Chinese government o understand that environmental problems cause social and political problems in the country. “The health of the Chinese people is endangered by the country’s air and water quality: fully 400,000 people are estimated to die prematurely in China from respiratory diseases related to air pollution, and hundreds of millions drink water contaminated with heavy metals and fecal matter.” (Zhao, 197) Environmental pollution and degradation costs China an equivalent of 10% GDP every year. Environmental problems have also become a reason of citizens’ dissatisfaction.
Talks about national priorities do not stop during the long period in China. Urbanization and rapid industrialization have caused serious damage to the environment, which have naturally caused concerns of native population and environmental organizations. Latest state policy is based on the attempts to find a healthy balance between economical growth and environmental protection. “Chinese conservationists, however, now say official reluctance to release the environmental impact studies may conceal moves to revive the dams and stifle debate about controversial projects.” (Zhao, 201) During the last time Chinese political leaders started paying more attention to the problem of environmental pollution. Finally, after years of neglecting, environmental issues have become the subject of governmental concern. Investments to the environmental protection have grown considerable during the last time. A number of new policies aiming to meet the challenges of environmental pollution have being developed during recent time. After years of concealment Chinese leaders come to the realization that “China’s economic, social and political welfare—and to a large extent that of the world—over the next decade will all be shaped by how effectively the country’s leaders and the people integrate environmental protection with economic development.” (Buxton, p. 123) Since environmental situation in China affects the rest of the world many counties develop environmental policies together with China. For example, the United States stresses on the necessity to develop fruitful collaboration between both countries on the field on environmental issues.
Environmental problems, which China and India face at the present moment are very alike. That is the reason in many cases they choose familiar strategies in order to deal with this problems. China and India take part in the number of common environmental programs. Both, China and India have joined the Asia – Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This Partnership consists of six Asian-Pacific countries: China, India, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States. This partnership has been designed in order to help the countries to share experiences about the ways to meet environmental challenges. The policy of the partnership stresses implementing of market-worth technologies, aiming to confront environmental challenges. Partnership countries share information about environmental issues and research the ways to improve technologies.
China and India have produced an impressive response to the global climate change. The protocol, signed as a part of Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Conversation on Climate Change, declared that China joined Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. In this protocol China proclaimed a number of initiatives aiming to improve energy use patterns. China expressed initiative to use the clean development mechanism (CDM) and carbon trading market. “According to one report, China already accounts for 60% of the carbon credits trading under the CDM, and successes are being touted in the Chinese and international media.” (Buxton, p. 179) India also takes part in CDM projects. Despite the initiative expressed by China was impressive, these projects are still small in number. For the present moment only 41 projects have been registered in China. In India, where this mechanism is also in used there are 124 of CDM projects registered. This contrast can be explained by strong bureaucratic mechanism, which exists in China and makes it complicated to launch any new mechanism. In addition country authorities create obstacles to the foreign organizations, who try to invest money into Chinese economy.
India’s government signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a non-Annex I country, which means that it cannot be obligated to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. So, “India is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol that mandates specific commitments by countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels by the agreed 2008-2012 time frame. Nevertheless, India accepted (ratification was unnecessary) the Kyoto Protocol on August 26, 2002” (Rana, p. 103). Carbon emissions in India increased by 61 per cent just betweeen1990 and 2001. These figures are higher only in China, where they make 111 per cent.

Conclusion
China and India are two countries with similar economic and environmental problems. Increasing the temps of economic development governments of these countries often do not take into account the impact of urbanization, globalization and usage of new technologies on the ecology. The problem of increasing population and a growing number of mega-cities is especially actual for China and it is obvious that these tendencies result in environment. On the one hand such situation can endanger people’s life but on the other hand sustainable development of economy can help to make environmental improvements. It is obvious that urban environmental problems are of current importance in China and India.
India and China face environmental challenges and so their main aim is to find balance between the economic development and ecological safety of the country. India is more successful in it, the India government is caring about the environmental from the very beginning of the 20th century. We can name such acts as Indian Forest Act (1927) and Wildlife Protection Act (1972) in support of this fact. Beginning from the year 1986 India has become an active participator in solving of global environmental problems and singed a number of acts which deal with this problem. As far as we know environmental problems in China are closely connected with coal consuming, so the main aim of the Chinese government is to change the situation. The solution of the coal problem is of current importance for the government. Among all the fossil fuels coal is one of the most carbon-intense and it is necessary to reduce the usage of coal. The government is now working on the inventions of projects which can do it with the help of renewable energy and efficient-energy technologies and it can be one of steps towards the solution of the greenhouse effect problem. It is necessary to invest in these technologies and so they will be able to transform coal into a clean-burning gas and so reduce the pollution from the one of dirtiest fuels.
China and India have signed up a number of acts together because only cooperate forces can solve global environmental crises, especially taking into account the fact that these two countries contribute greatly to world air and water pollution. Both, China and India are the active members the Asia – Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Together it is possible to find alternative ways to save energy, to use coal in a proper way and to reduce carbon dioxide in atmosphere. The current results achieved by India and China in this sphere are the bright example of this fact.

References
1. Shukla, P.R., The Modeling of Policy Options for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in India. AMBIO, Vol. XXV, No. 4, June, pp. 240-248, 1996.
2. Rana, A. & Shukla, P.R., Macroeconomic Models for Long-term Energy and Planning Commission, Urban Solid Waste Management in India. Report of High Power Committee. Government of India, 1995.
3.Heilig, G.K.: ChinaFood. Can China Feed Itself? IIASA, Laxenburg, 1999.
4. Zhao, Songqiao. Geography of China: Environment, Resources, Population, and Development. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1994.
5. Buxton, Leonard H. China: The Land and the People. New York: Gallery Books, W.H. Smith, Pub., 1988.
6. Heilig, G.K. / Reidinger, Richard / Yang, Xiaoliu / Yan, Jingsong / Hu, Ying (2000): Water eco-development strategies in China. In: Wang, Rusong / Ren, Hongzun / Ouyang, Zhiyun (Eds.): China Water Vision. The Eco-sphere of Water, Life, Environment, and Development. Beijing (China Meteorological Press, Foreign Language Book, No. 120)
7. Shangguan, Z. P. / Lei, T. W. / Shao, M. A. / Jia, Z. K. (2001): Water management and grain production in dryland farming areas in China. In: International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, Vol. 8, 41-45
8. Downs, Erica S. (2004): The Chinese energy security debate. In: The China Quarterly, Vol. 177, 21-41


 

 
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